Eudora senior Matt Jump has starred on the Eudora soccer team the past two years, and now is getting the opportunity to play in the Gothia Cup International Soccer Tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Jump is playing for 365 Sports USA’s U-19 team. Before heading overseas, Jump traveled July 9 to Raleigh, N.C., for three days of boot camp. The Gothia Cup is the world’s largest youth soccer tournament and has several age groups and nearly 30,000 athletes participating.
“I’m really excited, but I’m also really nervous,” said Jump before leaving town.
Jump was a second-team all-state performer for the Cardinals last year, and Eudora soccer coach Gunar Harmon wrote a letter of recommendation during his quest to join the national team.
“It’s a very good opportunity for him,” Harmon said. “I grew up in Germany, and playing teams in the international tournament is a great thing from my experience. And this will really go a long way to opening his eyes to what soccer is. He’s a very dedicated soccer player and he deserves to have this experience.”
The actual tournament began Monday with the preliminary rounds. Each team will play a minimum of four matches and could play more depending on which teams advance. The Gothia Cup finals will be played Saturday, and Jump will return to the United States on July 19.
Jump has never been out of the country and said he was looking forward to sightseeing and experiencing a new culture.
“On the Internet, I’ve seen a lot of pictures of it and it looked really nice,” he said. “I can’t wait to get some pictures and bring them back and show my family and friends.”
Jump said while overseas, he wanted to see how well he competes against the elite soccer players of the world. He also wants to learn a few tips that he could bring back to the Eudora soccer team.
“I’m really excited to see the scope of it and then to know where I stand skill-wise,” Jump said. “A lot of our team needs help in certain things, and I’m hoping to learn a lot so I can teach something to our younger players.”
Harmon added that he wouldn’t mind if Jump, a soft-spoken kid, came back a little more vocal.
“He’s a nice, quiet, reserved kid,” Harmon said. “He’s not the glamour senior who’s going to draw attention to himself. And that’s kind of why I think this experience for him, in a personal way, is that he’ll get to see and experience something entirely different about the game of soccer, which he so enjoys. That’s a lifetime of memories. He’ll treasure that.”